CARE home owners in Gwent have claimed they are being put under pressure to admit patients from hospitals without the proper equipment to protect residents and staff from coronavirus.

Mary Wimbury, the chief executive of Care Forum Wales, has written to first minister Mark Drakeford, saying the Welsh Government is putting care home workers and residents in danger.

In the letter, she called on Mr Drakeford to disclose the Welsh Government’s own risk assessment in relation to discharging patients from hospitals to care homes.

According to Ms Wimbury, care homes for the elderly across Wales are looking after 20,000 residents who are in the high-risk category for Covid-19.


“Our members already report being pressured into admitting patients from hospitals, and following publication of the discharge guidance this may well increase," she said.

“But they feel they can only safely do so with adequate PPE and appropriate use of testing, in order to fulfil their duty of care to existing residents, who have already been physically parted from family members and friends for some time to protect them from the virus.

“But it is also to reassure staff, who have their own health and families to consider, that is sufficiently safe for them to continue working.

“We have real concerns that without improved planning and liaison within the sector, the current approach will quickly lead to an avoidable disaster.

“Our members are deeply concerned that, without clear explanation by NHS Wales and Welsh Government of its risk assessment and resourcing arrangements, the current discharge approach - without tests and without sufficient full PPE - gives the appearance of ‘sacrificing’ the 20,000 older people in care homes in Wales, quite apart from putting staff at risk.

"This cannot be right, and is not consistent with the UK-wide policy of seeking to protect the most vulnerable."

At today's press conference, first minister Mark Drakeford responded to fears that some care homes are being asked to admit ill patients, saying: "At this point, the majority of care homes don't have coronavirus in them. The disease is spreading and more care homes will undoubtedly face it in the future.

"As far as I'm aware, the advice is to make sure doctors' advice has been sought as well as the manager of the care home to make sure all necessary arrangements are in place for patients that are being discharged to care homes."